Stage 3 Light Rail Transit to Kanata North
Community Voice Newspaper - June 27 2018
The future possibility of Light Rail Transit in Kanata North has never been as strong as it is today and we deserve an engaged, proactive and constructive voice at City Council to fight for this legacy infrastructure.
Residents all over Ottawa have seen their taxes directed to two LRT stages and tens of thousands will directly benefit from this innovative service starting in November. In Kanata North, a vast majority of my neighbours have told me that they want future planned allocations to be fair and that our next Councillor works hard to put the community interest first to bring LRT here and a lot sooner than the mid 2030’s.
I am already on the record supporting this position – on May 2nd2018, I presented to the City’s Transportation Committee on my advocacy for LRT with a much more aggressive timeline with clear benefits for Kanata North. LRT will rejuvenate our transit service with a bold new culture to support future growth with transportation infrastructure such as bus rapid transit, cycling and pedestrian access. More importantly, LRT connects us for a better quality of life to get to work or enjoy all that our city has to offer for entertainment, sports, arts and culture. In fact, Kanata’s original planning resulted in the development and growth of leading-edge connectivity platforms through the trailblazing vision of Bill Teron in creating our high tech sector and we, better than others, understand the value of connecting people and communities.
We must not wait any longer – an Environmental Assessment has been completed for Stage 3 making LRT a, “train that has left the station”. Let’s discuss it as a modernization opportunity for our transportation infrastructure, how it will reduce reliance on cars to lower frustrating commutes and congestion while supporting our environment and, how it will support small business and allow the technology park to attract and retain talent and bolster corporate investment and jobs.
Stage 3 LRT is critical for the west end and local Councillors must express support with a strong and united voice by approaching senior levels of government to generate even more momentum for Kanata and Stittsville residents and value for our tax dollars.
Our eye is on the prize as we want mobility solutions to improve our quality of life.
LRT inspires us to change our behavior, but we need to be offered tangible solutions that work for us with proven leadership.
May 2nd 2018
On May 2nd, I spoke to the CIty's Transportation Committee about the urgent need for LRT Stage 3 to Kanata North and advocated that this critical infrastructure to our community should arrive earlier than the projected 2031 start timeline.
An Environmental Assessment report was passed by Council on May 9th to set a preferred route that we must now champion for our future growth, prosperity and quality of life. It is simply costing us too much in lost productivity and time with family to deal with frustrating congestion as we commute and rely on vehicles to be mobile.
I also stressed that LRT will provide support through the Campeau station for our neighbours in Arcadia to address this growing community's needs and the necessary infrastructure that will deliver value for them.
Remarks can be heard here (please goto 1:51:00 mark) and read below...
KANATA LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT STUDY – RECOMMENDATIONS
Transportation Committee, City Hall
May 2, 2018
Notes for Remarks – David Gourlay, Candidate for City Council (Kanata North)
Thank you. My name is David Gourlay and I am a proud resident of Kanata North. I am here this morning to voice support for the Environmental Assessment study and recommendations.
I was proud to be a public champion for Stage 2 LRT as the then President of our Ottawa Champions baseball team. Baseball fans will be hitting home runs when they access RCGT Park through Tremblay Station starting in the 2019 season as the team celebrates their fifth anniversary supporting our community. With Stage 2 further connecting fans across a greater geographic landscape and enjoying more efficient mobility, we must now consider Stage 3 to integrate some of Ottawa’s fastest growing communities into the most exciting infrastructure program our city has seen.
As I do speak to my neighbours in Kanata North on a more frequent basis these days, it is clear that transportation and transit are a top priority to support and complement further growth and development. The opportunity and potential to bring LRT to Kanata North and the broader west end of the City is an exciting development for us.
This report, while not perfect, does open the door for a bold vision on how our community can benefit directly from LRT.
Any approach to LRT must put residents and our communities first by ensuring proper access to stations and maximum efficiency to deliver a system that is guided by affordability. These principles, while certainly not complete, initiate a constructive dialogue for us of how best to balance our tax investments into LRT with service standards.
Kanata North has become too reliant on vehicular transportation use with development and growth. There is need to adopt more and better uses of alternative transportation modes and LRT is a positive step in that direction to help ease stress on our road network and alleviate expensive repairs. In addition, there is a natural benefit for our environment when citizens proactively choose to leave a car at home for effective methods of transit. Finally, I think I am on safe ground by saying that many of my neighbours who complain about the Queensway in those brutal rush hour congestion are right. This costs commuters on average 10 hours a week and 40 hours a month of lost productivity commuting that is precious time with family and in the community.
It is evident that LRT is a very holistic option for our community with vast benefits that we, as residents, will adopt and enjoy.
However, simply designing a line into the community is not enough to justify investment by taxpayers. Station access by improving infrastructure for cycling, pedestrian and park and ride access in addition to a newly designed BRT system will get commuters into their neighbourhoods faster. We want adoption and use given the fiscal investment and as the proposed route puts 80% of residents in Kanata within 5 km of rail, the eye on the prize is that we will see an improved quality of life.
For the employees in the Kanata North Technology Park, LRT is a win-win through a proposed spine along the north side of the Queensway. There is efficiency in travel time and the March Road feeder service through BRT. But let’s not stop there – an idea to put innovative technology in place such as autonomous vehicles will demonstrate their value as a public good.
Speaking of businesses, proposed stations in Kanata North will support the retail sector in Tanger Mall, along March Road, Signature Center and Centrum. Business investment in retail and broader economic development priorities will be supported by LRT at a time when ambiguity surrounds the future of the CTC building in the region. There is genuine concern now about the impact on our local labour market and economy with the potential departure of the Ottawa Senators.
Our tax investments are about supporting our quality of life and enhancing urban mobility as a core goal of municipal service. Let’s look at a concrete example - the residents of Arcadia support the possibility of LRT with their station at Campeau to improve their quality of life as they undergo significant growth and further maturity as a community in Kanata North.
Our goal now is to be involved in this dialogue and ensure all levels of government hear clearly that Stage 3 LRT is a strong public investment. I encourage the next term of Council to keep their eye on the prize to push for this important investment for our communities.